New Forest tourist slams Hampshire police after £3,000 bikes stolen from car in Lyndhurst
A TOURIST has slammed Hampshire police and said he may not return to the New Forest after the theft of £3,000 worth of bikes left him feeling the area “is not safe”.
Ivanoy de Brito was fuming after bikes belonging to him and his wife were stolen from their car in Lyndhurst while they were on holiday.
The couple went out to eat on the evening of 23rd August and parked close to the New Forest Heritage Centre at 7.20pm, leaving their two mountain bikes in the back of his red Renault Kadjar vehicle.
Mr de Brito, from Norfolk, said: “They mean everything to us; we love a good day out on the bikes.”
He went on: “It was still broad daylight, families walking around with kids, CCTV cameras. It was basically a normal busy car park, and since our mountain bikes were safe, locked and secure I thought 'okay we can go and grab a bite'.”
But when they returned after 8.40pm he was “shocked, angry and desperate” to discover the bikes had been stolen. He called police and said they took his details and logged the theft.
Over the next two days the couple drove around searching for their bikes, visited car boot sales, local shops and car parks but to no avail.
“To complete my holiday nightmare, I received a letter from Hampshire Constabulary saying they won’t take this investigation any further, due to lack of resources,” he added.
Other factors included the impact on victims, severity of the offence, and likelihood of it being solved.
There have been a number of bike thefts in the district this summer. In the latest a 15-year-old boy had his Boardman Gravel bike snatched in a mugging near Woodside park in Pennington at 8.30pm on Sunday night.
Raiders also took a Canyon Neuron CF 92020 mountain bike after forcing their way into a garage at a home in Holm Close, Ringwood, between 12.35am and 12.40am on Tuesday 24th August.
Rural crime is among the priorities in a draft three-year plan set out by Hampshire’s new police and crime commissioner, Donna Jones, who has vowed to increase police visibility.
It includes giving countryside communities a voice with measures including expanded use of drones.
Another priority is the previously reported target to recruit 600 extra officers by the end of 2023. Home Office figures showed that numbers of frontline officers in the county dropped from 3,658 in 2010 to 2,812 in 2020.
But Mr de Brito said his experience made him believe the police were not doing enough. “There must be a line where a person must say enough is enough. By not investigating them, the thieves will only continue taking advantage of this situation.
“It is also not good for tourism. Like me, I believe there are more tourists that don’t want to return to the New Forest anymore because they don’t feel safe.”
A Hampshire police spokesperson defended its investigation, adding: “While we may have exhausted all viable lines of enquiry, the local neighbourhood policing team are aware of the incident and are seeking to establish if there are any patterns or links to any other similar incidents in the area.”
He confirmed the investigation had been closed “until such time new information comes to light” and explained decisions to investigate incidents were based “solely on viable lines of enquiry available to our officers at that time”.
Neighbourhood policing teams use information to build up a picture of crime locally and follow-up on reports by reviewing available CCTV footage, speaking with victims and witnesses, and offering “bespoke crime prevention advice” at tourist hotspots and to business owners and visitors, he said.
“Please be rest assured local officers are doing all they can to protect the communities of the New Forest and bring those responsible for such crimes to justice,” he added, urging people to continue to report crime or suspicious activity.